Friday, March 6, 2009

Spring Awakening

Well, this Sunday starts Daylight Savings Time. Thank Heavens! All of this snow is getting us depressed. So, in honor of Spring being just around the corner, we're bringing you a short list of our favorite Springtime dishes!

Asparagus - Did you know it takes over three years to cultivate a crop of this delicious vegetable? It's worth the wait though, as this versatile veggie is easy to prepare and available all year round! We love to simply saute ours with olive oil and lots of garlic... salt and pepper and you've got a veritable meal in and of itself!

Mushrooms - Where to begin? There are so many yummy ones to choose from - Oyster, Shiitake, Portabella, and even plain old Button Mushrooms can spruce up any dish. They are full of Vitamin D and the earthy flavor and unique texture just can't be beat. We love wild mushroom pizza! You can make your own dough if you're feeling adventurous, otherwise the stuff you can buy from the grocery store in the bakery section is perfectly passable. So you saute a big pile of mushrooms, probably at least 3 pounds of assorted fungi will do. Add olive oil, a bit of garlic and maybe some onion, and top with a sharp, salty cheese - asiago works well. Pop in the oven til the crust has browned and you have yourself a fabulous, easy meal.

Sweet Pea Risotto: Risotto is one of those things that takes time and practice to perfect. While some may say that you don't really need to stand at the stove for 45 minutes stirring, we disagree. The heart and soul of any great risotto is in the labor of love it takes to prepare it perfectly! Start with a half an onion and a few (or a lot of) chopped cloves of garlic in your pan. We like to use our fabulous Le Creuset pans for making risotto - the heat retention is right on.

Anyway, saute your garlic and onion until translucent and add 2 cups of arborio rice. Now, resist the urge to add your liquid too quickly, you really need to toast up that rice and completely coat it with the fat until you can move forward to the next step. Once you feel like you've let it go just a minute too long, its perfect and you begin to add your warmed chicken or vegetable stock.

Continue to add by ladle full, just as soon as the liquid in the pan dries up. Stir and stir until you just can't stir any more, and when your risotto has reached the proper texture - creamy but not mushy, with a bit of bite to the outside, you can add your shelled green peas and a crack of fresh pepper. Simply mouth watering...

Lamb: Lamb is certainly one of those things you either love or hate. If you fall under the latter category, stop reading and have a great weekend! If not, here is our recipe for a great grilled lamb chop. We like to marinate our with olive oil, chopped garlic, lots of rosemary, salt and pepper. So whip something similar up and toss it in a ziplock freezer bag. Toss in your frenched lamb chops (your butcher can do this for you) and let sit for at least an hour. Once you're satisfied with the marination, slap those babies on a hot grill for 3 minutes on each side until they're cooked to your liking.

So, take this and maybe try a few new things this weekend - what better way to celebrate the turning of the seasons!

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